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Spending 1 on 1 time with multiples

As a former classroom teacher, I know the importance of making a connection with each child, everyday. This is how I was always able to form good relationships with my students, grounded in trust and acknowledgment. This always resulted in overall better classroom and behavior management in these group settings. The same logic can be applied to homes with multiple children. As a new mom of three, it has become increasingly challenging to meet individual needs of each child, and ensuring that they each get my full attention during our chaotic, busy days! This can be even more challenging than in a classroom setting, because my children vary in age! My 8 year old is pretty independent but still thrives off attention, praise, and involvement on my part. My newborn is always attached to me for obvious reasons, and my three year old is learning how to be a big sister while also being so little and in need of my security, herself.

Simply put, children behave better, cooperate more, and are less chaotic wheb their needs are met. This is basic parenting, right? But sometimes we can overlook two needs. According to successful Peaceful Parenting approaches, children all require the fulfillment of two needs in order to be more cooperative with us. Those would be their need for control and their need for attention. When children feel out of control, they will grab control over any situation they can. Even unpleasant ones. This may look like the sudden onset of soiling one's clothing, or keeping one's bedroom a mess. When children do not get enough of our attention, they will seek it in negative ways that we are forced to address.

I have been making the conscious effort to spend 30 minutes of 1:1 time with my two oldest kids, during this phase of our lives where mommy is "baby trapped". This isn't to say we aren't spending loads of other times together or out and about in the community, or with friends. But in addition to this family time, that can go by in the blink of an eye, I strive to make a real connection, alone with each girl. It goes without saying that their baby brother gets plenty of 1:1 time with mommy.

Sometimes this looks like enjoying a puzzle with my three year old. She also loves to dance with mommy, so we will randomly burst into dance and song together. Food is also the way to her heart. Sometimes we sneak a yummy treat for just the two of us in secret. My 8 year old loves reading me her stories and I always carve out time for that, in addition to girl chat. She also loves to draw and we enjoy doing cooperative drawings where we time ourselves and then pass the drawing off to the other one. It's these seemingly small moments and small efforts on my part to bond with them individually, that seem to make the difference. They feel connected and grounded when they have had that attention from me. In turn, they tend to give me a little more grace when mommy has to spend a lot of time tending to the baby. They also become more helpful and cooperative around the home when they see it allows me to give them even more of that 1:1 time. It also helps ease that dreaded mom guilt that none of us deserve to feel.


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